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Quesnel Kangaroos dreaming of CIHL three-peat

The Roos season kicks off in Williams Lake on Saturday, Oct. 16, with a home game on Oct. 23
A couple of young Quesnel Kangaroos fans get fist-bumps from their heroes as they head into the locker room after beating the Terrace River Kings 8-4 in early 2020. Spectators will have to show proof of vaccination to to gain entry to the West Fraser Centre during Kangaroos games. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

The Quesnel Kangaroos are aiming high as they take to the ice in Williams Lake to kick off the 2021/2022 CIHL season on Saturday, Oct. 16.

The team will once again be coached by Harley Gilks.

“I want to end the season like we ended the last two seasons. On top,” he said.

READ MORE: Quesnel Kangaroos crowned CIHL champions for second straight year

Gilks said he wasn’t sure how the league would shake out, given a complete cancelled season, a new team in the Nechako North Stars joining, and the Smithers Steelheads not icing a team.

“We have no idea who is going to be playing where,” he said.

The Kangaroos held tryouts throughout September. Two new faces who stood out to Gilks were forwards Marshall Brown and Jordan Draper.

Brown is a Correlieu graduate, who spent the last five seasons in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, a junior B league. In his final season with the Victoria Cougars, he had 53 points in 48 games.

Draper brings a wealth of experience from Europe. He’s played in the lower divisions in France and Germany since 2014.

While Gilks expects new faces to bring fresh perspectives to the Kangaroos, he said experience, especially going deep in the playoffs in previous years, can be key.

“Being a short season as is, 16 regular season games, being able to go deep into the playoffs, the more hockey we play, it just makes our club a lot more deeper as a team,” he said.

Gilks added while it took a couple sessions for players who haven’t skated in over a year to get their legs under them, everyone was excited to be back on the ice.

“Everyone’s just happy to be skating, be with the boys,” he said.

After travelling to Williams Lake to open the season, the Kangaroos will start their home schedule on Oct. 23, when they host the Nechako North Stars at the West Fraser Centre.

Proof of vaccination by fans must be shown to gain entry to the games.

READ MORE: Quesnel Kangaroos president hopeful for a three-peat season despite COVID-19

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